tent zipper repair

topic posted Sun, April 8, 2007 - 2:28 PM by  Åmªzºn¡Kª

Is there any hope in fixing a broken tent zipper?
I'm pretty sure the tent is not under warranty anymore.

The two parts of the zipper keep separating, creating an open gap in the middle, which then opens along the whole length of the zipper, making it impossible to zip up the tent door.

I can't seem to find any reason why it would do damage that I can see.

It's too bad if I can't fix this -- it's the only thing wrong with the tent, but now I really can't use it anymore.
I usually camp in places where it rains and there are mosquitos, so a working zipper is essential!

  • -
    offline 12

    Re: tent zipper repair

    Sun, April 8, 2007 - 3:19 PM
    You could buy a new zipper and replace the old one but, depending on the quality of the tent, a brand new zipper of the correct length may be more expensive than buying a new tent. On Ebay I've seen zippers sold in coils though ($15?). Otherwise, you can get the zipper used from somewhere else (for example, an old sleeping bag).
    Velcro could also be an alternative.
    Do you know exactly why the parts separate? Are all the teeth locking before they separate? Replacing only the slider could be an option if you find an identical one and if that's the faulty piece...
    • Re: tent zipper repair

      Sun, April 8, 2007 - 5:46 PM
      I used to work for a camping store that rented tents. We often had to make repairs to zippers. The usually cause of zip failure is a worn slider. The slider squeezes the zipper teeth together thus closing the zipper. First clean the zipper teeth and rub some bees wax on the teeth. Candle wax will work but bees wax is softer and easier to work with.You can usually find small round cakes of bees wax at hardware stores. Once the zipper is cleaned and lubed you are ready to address the slider. To fix the problem of a separating zipper first try squeezing the top and bottom of slider together with a pair of pliers. Go slow here try a gentle squeeze, test the zipper and see if it works. You don't want to bend the slider so tight that it won't slide (obviously). If this does not fix the problem you can replace the slider. You have to unstitch the end of the zipper and replace the old slider with a new one. Hand sewing is all you need but if you can use a sewing machine, so much the better, You can buy zipper sliders from a fabric store or order one online from Campmor
      look around their website, they have tons of stuff for fixing outdoor gear.

      If all this sounds like too much work you can probably get a slider replaced at any place that does alterations (laundries and dry cleaners aften do this)
      I noticed you have Vancouver as yr hometown. There are tons of outdoor retailers in your area so I would ask around to get a recommendation for a place to repair yr zipper. BUT don't forget to try the slider squeeze often that is all you need.
      Ooh here is the website of a place in Vancouver that repairs outdoor gear.
      • Re: tent zipper repair

        Sun, April 8, 2007 - 10:36 PM

        These are both excellent responses to my question!
        I will try everything suggested! I ain't scaird of no sewin'.

        P.S. Marc, I actually don't live in Vancouver anymore...I'm out in the rural BC mountains, not close to any outdoor gear stores. The irony!
        • Re: tent zipper repair

          Wed, February 4, 2009 - 6:58 PM
          I know this is a DIY tribe, but I had a tent zipper replaced last year and it only cost $25. One of the shoe repair shops in town has a seamstress that picks up/drops off to them 2x par week. She's done a couple zippers for me and they rock.
          In the interest of saving yourself time and frustration (that's a BIG freaking zipper), you might check into some of the alteration/shoe repair shops. I always figure my time is worth something to. It was $25 vs. my four hours to do it.................
          Just a thought.
      • Re: tent zipper repair

        Fri, January 30, 2009 - 10:11 AM
        Thanks a lot, this advise worked great for us !!! We used silicon grease for the teeth (had it available in the diving stuff).
        Then we also squeezed the slider, one we actually squeezed to much, so one must be careful with that.
        Otherwise the tent is fully functional again which is really great.
        This advise saved us lot of money and hassles.
  • Unsu...

    Re: tent zipper repair

    Mon, April 9, 2007 - 5:52 AM
    Replace the zipper with a Velcro strip and it'll never break again.

    You'll wake everyone else in the camp site but what the hell it's time to get up anyway.
  • Re: tent zipper repair

    Mon, December 14, 2009 - 2:41 PM
    there is a new product that fixes zippers without tools. You have a worn out zipper slider. go to
    • Re: tent zipper repair

      Mon, December 14, 2009 - 5:50 PM
      I JUST heard of a great idea for replacing zippers. Buy a zipper the correct length, sew it over the existing zipper, the carefully cut the teeth of the old zipper off.

      This is, of course, only if you are unable to repair the zipper...
  • Re: tent zipper repair

    Mon, December 14, 2009 - 11:25 PM
    who is your tent made by?

    The North Face has a lifetime warranty. And most of the other tent brands have long warranties or you can call the 1-800 number and many times they can recommend you to a repair place.
  • Unsu...

    Re: tent zipper repair

    Tue, December 15, 2009 - 7:22 AM
    Or Velcro.

    The up side of Velcro is that when you open it you wake up the whole campground.
    Well OK it's a devilish sort of up side.
    • Re: tent zipper repair

      Sat, December 26, 2009 - 7:11 PM
      You can also, take the tent to a shoe repair shop. They repair all kinds of zippered things, you'd be surprized.

      P.S. I like the Velcro idea...I like the sound of Velcro unzipping...Reminds me of an old boyfriend's pants.
      • Re: tent zipper repair

        Sat, April 2, 2011 - 10:26 PM
        Sharon, that's a great suggestion! I may well do that with my beloved Vaude pack that has blown four zippers now (three of them sort of function enough to keep me using it but, hey, if I can get one or two of these fixed up like new…)

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